Not This Time

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When he was asking Americans to vote for him during the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama said . . .

We’re looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington.  It’s a status quo that extends beyond any particular party and right now that status quo is fighting back with everything it’s got, with the same old tactics that divide and distract us from solving the problems people face, whether those problems are health care that folks can’t afford or a mortgage they cannot pay.

Before Obama appointed Wall Street insiders to run his economic policies and a Blue Dog to be his chief of staff, he told us . . .

Make no mistake about what we’re up against.  We’re up against the belief that it’s all right for lobbyists to dominate our government, that they are just part of the system in Washington. But we know that the undue influence of lobbyists is part of the problem and this election is our chance to say that we are not going to let them stand in our way anymore.

Obama’s not only letting them stand in our way, he’s helping them stand in our way.  He let lobbyists write the Senate Finance Committee bill.  He campaigned for the public option, but now he’s caving to the Republicans and Blue Dogs who are telling us we can’t have it. They’ve viciously attacked the public option from the very beginning and they’re continuing to viciously attack it.

When he needed our votes, Obama condemned the very people he’s caving to now . . .

There are those who will continue to tell us that we can’t do this, that we can’t have what we’re looking for, that we can’t have what we want.   But here is what I know.  I know that when people say we can’t overcome all the big money and influence in Washington, I think of that elderly woman who sent me a contribution the other day, an envelope that had a money order for $3.01 along with a verse of scripture tucked inside the envelope.

I’m not sure what you think you know, Obama, but here’s what she knows–she knows what Democrats used to stand for, she knows what they must stand for again.  She remembers when FDR showed America what real change looks like, she remembers him winning the fight for economic and social justice . . .  

FDR- a great president Pictures, Images and Photos

From a wheel chair.  

FDR’s legs were paralyzed, but his moral courage wasn’t, his heart wasn’t, his determination to fight for the Americans who elected him wasn’t.  Unlike you, Obama, FDR wasn’t paralyzed by moral cowardice, he didn’t reach out to Republicans, he didn’t compromise with the liars and hypocrites of that degenerate party, he governed as a Democrat because that’s what he promised he would do.    

That elderly woman who sent you $3.01 remembers when Democrats were actually Democrats, she knows how desperately America needs another Democratic President like FDR.  She believed in you, Obama.  She trusted you.  She had faith in you.  She believed you when you told her last fall, when you told all of us last fall that . . .

We’re up against the idea that it’s acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election.  But we know that this is exactly what’s wrong with our politics. This is why people don’t believe what their leaders say anymore. This is why they tune out.  And this election is our chance to give the American people a reason to believe again.

You’re throwing that chance away, Obama.  You’re letting the losers of that election kill reform, you’re shattering the trust so many Americans had in you, you’re giving us no reason to believe that anything will really change.

Republicans are saying anything and doing anything to win this health care fight, and Obama is rewarding them for it.  They are exactly what’s wrong with our politics,  but Obama called their orgy of lies and threats “a healthy debate.”  HE is why even more people won’t believe what their leaders say anymore, HE is why even more of them will tune out.  

For a few brief months, Obama gave the American people a reason to believe again, but we’re seeing the same RePug outrages, the same caving from Democrats, the same bait and switch tactics, the same kabuki dances, the same corporate control of the government we’ve always seen.    

When he was asking for our votes, Obama said . . .

We have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism.  We can do that.  But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction.  And then another one.  And then another one.  And nothing will change.  That is one option.  Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.”

We came together, we worked our hearts out to win the White House and build bigger Democratic majorities in Congress, but now we’re being told there aren’t enough votes for the public option, we’re being told it’s not an essential component of health care reform, we’re being told that a reform killing public option trigger would be a “good compromise.”

Obama is lying to us, his chief-of-staff is cursing us, he’s let Republicans and Blue Dogs turn this health care reform debate into a Orwellian spectacle of doublethink and newspeak, he’s still letting Republican “moderates” like Olympia Snow dictate what will be in HCR legislation and what won’t be, he’s letting the losers of the election kill reform.

And nothing will change.

YOU have a choice to make right now, Obama.  You can keep rewarding the politics that breeds division, and conflict and cynicism.  Or you can take a stand with the progressives who elected you.  We are not going to take one for the team again.  Not this time.  We are not going to tolerate yet another betrayal. Not this time.  We are not going to back down.  

Not this time.  

Not ever again.



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  1. Progressives are not going to take one for the team again, we are not going to tolerate yet another betrayal, we are not going to back down.  

    Those days are over.  Those days are dead and gone.

    Get used to it, Democrats.

    • Alma on September 5, 2009 at 22:16

    with my bad back I get tired of bending over.  

    Not gonna do it this time, I agree Rusty.

    • jamess on September 6, 2009 at 01:21

    he will confirm, the fact that he is a centrist —

    NOT interesting in real change,

    but rather just maintaining the Status Quo.

    In short, he will prove that he is a Hypocrite.

    thx for the thoughtful essay Rusty.

    If only we had an FDR Populist now, leading the charge.

    • Joy B. on September 6, 2009 at 04:14

    ..I’ve never played the game. Hell, I never voted from the time I was 21 (before 18 year olds got that right) until I was 41. Twenty years. A friend here called me on it – told me that for all my political knowledge, if I didn’t vote I had no excuse to bitch. He was right and I knew it.

    So I’ve been voting every chance I get (and volunteering) ever since. For my bitching rights. I don’t take it more seriously than I ever did. I just play the game so I CAN earn those bitching rights.

    My life is still much the same regardless of what’s happening in D.C. today.

  2. CNN

    A Democratic source close to the process told CNN Friday that the White House was very conscious of the potential congressional fallout: “How do you [get the deal passed] without a revolt in the House? It can be done, but very delicately.”

    The bottom line, said the source, is that the president would have to “move to the center” on the issue eventually, “and it’s not a bad thing to have liberals screaming at him.” That development will help sell the deal to Americans and “convince them it’s a good, moderate deal, if liberals are mad.”

    The bottom line, RAHM, is that no public option means big Dem losses in the midterms, a primary challenge against Obama in 2012 and/or a 3rd party movement.  

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